August 09, 2015
Businesses and restaurants wondering what they'll need to do to survive the Papal Visit weekend will soon learn their fate, as city officials plan to release information for businesses this week.
City official Jazelle Jones told the Philadelphia Business Journal, "We're going to do a business brief, but we have to put it together. We're doing that now."
Information for residents, meanwhile, will be released around one week after the business brief goes out.
Key questions that businesses have include: when will delivery trucks be allowed inside the traffic box that will prevent most incoming vehicles in Center City during the late September visit? Will it be better to stock up in advance, have deliveries at midnight, or avoid serving perishable items altogether?
Until stores and restaurants get this information, they won't know how to plan for the Papal visit – or even if it makes sense for them to stay open at all. The iconic Reading Terminal Market, for example, has still not decided if it will be open for the Pope's visit.
Right now, officials are telling businesses to prepare for World Meeting of Families like it's an extreme weather event called Hurricane Francis. Jones told PBJ, "What do people do if we have a blizzard? It's the same kind of thought process."
The Secret Service has already told local businesses that security measures "will include, but not be limited to, traffic and pedestrian restrictions, vehicle and general public screening checkpoints and the establishment of secured areas," Billy Penn reported.
The law enforcement agency also requested businesses to provide "information about your building and business plans that may affect security measures for the Pope's visit," but that kind of information will be difficult to obtain when businesses themselves aren't sure of their plans.
There is one kind of small business, however, that is definitely going to be up and running before and during the Pope's visit: scalpers. SEPTA railway passes into the city during the Pope's visit are already up on Craigslist.